AUGUSTA — A new Maine law limits the use of lead fishing gear in an effort to protect the state’s loon population.

The bill, L.D. 730, went into law without the governor’s signature on Thursday.

Under the new law, stores will be banned from selling lead sinkers and lures beginning Sept. 1, 2016. People will not be able to use those items starting the next year. Lures with covered lead will still be allowed, but no lead will be allowed in sinkers.

The state says lead poisoning from lures and sinkers is the leading cause of death for Maine’s adult loons.

The bill is sponsored by Democratic Sen. Anne Haskell of Portland. She says the new law will help preserve loons for future generations.

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